To gain a true appreciation for many of the excellent New Orleans-based bands you’ve been reading about in Noisey and Stereogum over the last year, it’s worth knowing Sun Hotel. The four-piece – led by the brusque vocals of songwriter Tyler Scurlock – also counts guitarist Alex Hertz, Native America’s Ross Farbe, and Woozy’s John St. Cyr as founding members. In early 2010, they, along with best friends and sibling band Caddywhompus, founded Chinquapin Records, a full service collective which quickly emerged as a quintessential inflection point for the city’s DIY music scene.
Early versions of Sun Hotel’s latest release “Rational Expectations” (release date: Tuesday February 3 – 2015 – Community Records) began popping up in live sets even before the band officially delivered their standout 2011 EP Gifts, which itself signaled the culmination of almost three years of constant touring, writing and recording. Since then, this new album went through at least two complete drawing-board revamps, allowing so much time to pass that it’s easy to forget that Sun Hotel was once the Big Easy’s standardbearer for productivity and prolificness.
The timing of Native America and Woozy’s recent breakouts – showcasing Farbe and St. Cyr’s independent genius – are likely due in no small part to Scurlock’s restlessness while preparing Sun Hotel’s second full length album. At the end of the day, life doesn’t wait for perfectionism and every member has moved on creatively (and in Hertz’s case, geographically) since this project began. Nevertheless, when the thing finally arrives, it can indeed be perfect.
The long gestation period of “Rational Expectations” has distilled the final product down to the unsentimental core of what made Sun Hotel such an enchanting group to follow over the years. Their earnest ambivalence is suddenly and surprisingly devoid of pathos, their flirtations with post-punk are more angular and driving than ever, and there is an urgency and focus that brings to mind their thrilling debut EP. It’s a knowing swan song, perceptive of its finality but also comforting in its triumph.
Mail-order – “Rational Expectations”
Sun Hotel – album release & farewell performance
w/ all people, pope, and trampoline team
sat. jan. 31 at one eyed jacks
(krewe du vieux night) link HERE